Fourteen-year-old Jerry Craft had shoved his mask deep into the back pocket of his dusty stained jeans five-hundred miles ago. He’d scurried into a boxcar at Denver and the inspectors hadn’t found him when they stopped in Salt Lake. Now somewhere in Nevada, August heat scorching him clean, he felt free. “No COVID’s gonna get me.” He suddenly coughed, doubling over and nearly falling from his perch just above the car coupling. Sitting down, his inner demon quieted and let him speak once more. “With Ma and Pa already dead, ain’t gonna let COVID get me before the cancer does.”
“A train whistle.”
Daniel’s only experience hearing a train whistle, at least as far as he could remember, was from the third Back to the Future movie. Doc and Marty were trapped in 1885, and they had to steal an old steam locomotive to push the DeLorean up to eighty-eight miles per hour.
The ten year old peeked through the flock, he was near the front of it anyway and there it was.
“A real 19th century steam engine. An old fashioned train.”
It was sitting at a platform. No sign of a town or any other structures, but there were people waiting to board, if they were people at all.